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Risk Communication

Risk Communication is used in situations of high concern, controversy or low trust and takes into account the risk perceptions of stakeholders. Risk perception is influenced by many factors, but key influencers include, trust, benefit, fairness and control. Increasingly, however, ethical representations, values and concerns are emerging as important variables in societal and consumer decision making.

Factors such as data privacy & security, environmental impact, and sustainability are now influencing how stakeholders perceive risk. In a cultural environment that increasingly demands transparency, companies are also appreciating the need for effective Risk Communication to ensure their social license to operate and to protect their Corporate Reputation – one of their most valuable and enduring assets.  Increasingly, stakeholders have issues with the safety of products, the way products are made, how organisations self-regulate, how they do business, how they engage with customers, data breach issues and a host of other criteria.

[pullquote align=”left or right”]We get our clients to think differently when communicating in situations of high concern[/pullquote]

Risk Communication is neither “in the moment” Crisis Communications from the PR handbook, nor is it science communication.  Risk Communication is grounded in research from the social sciences that gives insight on how risk issues are perceived, or, to put it more plainly — what makes people worry. Ideally, Risk Communication strategies should be proactively developed and be part of any risk management strategy.  It is about being ready to anticipate and meet any communication challenges that you may face.We  deliver science-based solutions to manage and mitigate risks, build partnerships and alliances, and develop strategies to prevent, not just manage, crises. We look beyond technical risks to the predominant drivers influencing risk perception in highly complex, government regulated, and controversial industries where trust is low and market access threatened.

We create a Risk Communication framework for our clients that includes the message architecture, reactive and proactive response mechanisms and strategies for implementation. Most importantly, we provide a framework for organizations to anticipate and rank your most likely risk vulnerabilities.

In addition to our consulting activities we offer training and mentoring in Risk Communication.  See Risk Communication: Training and Mentoring.

Activities in Canada and the USA

We are excited to have James Toccacelli of Toccaelli and Associates in Toronto partnering with us in our Risk Communication activities.


Scientific American WorldView, 2015, pp. 32-33

Communication Breakdown: Looking at the GMO controversy through the lens of communication science